Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hand Stitching

Happy Easter!
I hope your easter treat to yourself will be to enjoy some hand stitching time today...and maybe a few chocolate eggs too! I hope to be sewing on a quilt binding today! I really want to finish my March UFO today...wish me luck!

I enjoyed some hand sewing this week on my "Votes For Women" blocks, and was able to finish block # 21 called Parasols and P.R. 

It was a challenging block for me to applique, and it's a little odd looking, but it's DONE! Done is way better than perfect!

Then I started another block that I wanted to sew by hand...block #29 which is a seven point star block. I am hoping that the centre will fit together better than if I machine pieced it. There are also lots of "set in" seams on this block.

BTW...did you check out the hand stitching link ups last week?!? 
Debra and BillieBee introduced me to a new (to me) website called Echinops and Aster.  There is a stitch-along going on there and there is a wonderful list of hand stitching resources. If you missed it, you really need to check it out - click here.
Link up your blog post below and showing us what hand stitching you hope to treat yourself to on this Easter Sunday.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Scrappy Saturday - Orange

I missed the scrappy saturday posting last week, but this week, I'm on it!  It's the last week for orange, so I finished a couple more orange crumb blocks for my crummy rainbow quilt, bringing the orange total to 19!! I was surprised to note that I now have more orange blocks for this quilt, than any other colour...wierd, since I rarely buy orange fabric! Where are these scraps coming from?!? 
I also finished up a few more leader/ender Alamo stars with my orange batik scraps. In the last 6 months I have sewn more than 60 of these blocks and I still adore them, so I will keep making more.
Wow...that blue one really stands out like a sore thumb! I either need to make more blocks with that blue, or throw that one out.
Hop over to SoScrappy and check out the other orange scrap projects. Wonder what the new colour will be for April!?!?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What I am working on

A little bit of sewing is going on around here.
I finished the scrappy binding for the scrap quilt I started two weeks ago. It is wound around a tube and ready to stitch to the quilt, but I have to quilt it first. I really want to work on finishing that one, but am forcing myself to work on my March UFO.

I finally realized what my problem was that was interfering with progress on this UFO. I didn't want to add another border! Duh! I was fussing around and unsure, and finally it hit me that I want a light border, and then a red binding.
So now I am pin basting it and hoping to quilt it this weekend.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Stitch Me Up Blog Hop

Welcome to the "Stitch Me Up" blog hop!
I love to hand stitch, and I host a "Slow Sunday Stitching" linky party on Sundays for hand work bloggers. Sew... this blog hop has been perfect for me!
My "Stitch Me Up" project incorporated the flower designs from Bee Tree Designs, and a quote from one of my teenage clients (who said that she heard it in the movie called "The Perks of Being a Wallflower".
I don't love how my project turned out (sad face). 
The colours aren't right, and the background fabric is too mottled to showcase the stitchery. Also there is too much empty space, and the finished stitchery doesn't fit into the frame I bought for it.
But I really do like these flower curlies...aren't they so cute?!?

I have been wondering if I might like it more if I hand quilted a grid in the background . 
Any other ideas?
I have enjoyed visiting the stitching blog posts so far and want to thank Madame Samm and Jane for another fun blog land adventure. Check out these wonderful blogs today to see more hand stitching projects!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Stitching

Ever since I saw the cute spool pin doilies over at Quiltville, I have been trying to make one for my treadle so that the thread spool won't wear the decals off over the years of use. I could use a plain old piece of felt, but that would be boring! 
Bonnie even posted the pattern on her blog, but there is one problem...I don't know how to crochet!
I have had a couple of lessons from patient friends, but I must admit that it's a challenge. These are my first two attempts, but they are too big, so either I need a different needle or different thread. I will keep trying!
What are you hand stitching this week?
Link up your blog post below and share your project.

Friday, March 22, 2013

TGIF - Let's start something new!

Made it to Friday! TGIF
And I'm planning a new quilt!
Debby Kaffunger is hosting a mystery on her quiltaholics site mid April. I haven't sewn one of her mysteries for a long time, so I am looking forward to sewing this one.
If you belong to her quiltaholics yahoo group you can get all the preliminary details.
The problem (for me) is that it's a 2 colour quilt, and I can't do a 2 fabric quilt (too monotonous to sew and I know I will lose interest), so I will have to go scrappy!
Here is the Kansas Troubles collection I'm thinking of using for this mystery. I have lots of the lights, but I'm think I might have to take out the mustard and the red. Any suggestions?!?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring is here!

Spring has sprung - on the calendar only! 
The weather is still very much winter here... cold, blustery and snowy. I haven't spotted one single robin yet this year! 
And I have been procrastinating on my UFO report because I have not made the progress I had hoped to by mid-month. I only have the first border on so far. I want to add one more dark border, baste, quilt, and bind it in the next 10 days! 
I will "Be positive"!
To see more mid-month UFO reports, click here.

Another new beginning to announce is the Stitch Me Up blog hop. 
Hop over and visit the many beautiful embroidery projects. 
My day to post is Monday, so I sure do hope I finish my project by then! I am working on it...slow and steady, just like a turtle!
Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Votes For Women Wednesday

I am making slow progress on my Votes For Women blocks. 
I enjoy the new block challenge each week, and love to see how each quilter makes their block unique (visit the Flickr page to see the wide variety of blocks being made). I am a few blocks behind those being currently posted, but will catch up soon!
This week I worked on Block #20 Memory Wreath.
It was a simple block to make and I enjoyed searching in my reproduction fabrics to pick out pieces to use.
The story that was posted with this block about militant suffragettes was very interesting to read.
The next block is applique and I'm going to give it a go and see how I do! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Finished Quilt Top!

TA DA! A finished quilt top measuring 54" x 66"!
I couldn't decide if I preferred the rectangles placed vertically or is a fun block no matter how you place it!

Also couldn't decide about half blocks, or a contrast fabric, or leftover scraps in the alternate spaces at the top and can see which option I went with and am pleased with how it turned out. I am now working on creating a scrappy backing and binding, and am giddy about clearing out this old stash fabric (making room for new!). 
This will be a donation quilt for my guild's collection and I am pumped to get it completely finished by the April meeting. 
And perhaps I am procrastinating working on my UFO!?!?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Design Wall Monday #11

What a great day on Saturday with my quilt guild friends! It was such a treat to sew all day! I used up a lot of old stash in this quilt (win for me) and I think a little girl would like it (win for her). I have the blocks together but haven't ironed it yet, so will show the top later in the week.
Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design walls today.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

S L O W Stitching Sunday on St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
We aren't Irish, but like to pretend we are so we can join the parties and eat green food. I finished hand stitching the binding on a little tabletopper just in time for the celebrations at my house today. 

My regular readers will not be surprised to read about what I will be working on today...the same thing as "forever"!  
I am happy to report that I have finished the hand quilting in block #6 of my "Journey of a Quilter", which means I have now finished quilting 2 of the 9 blocks. Parts of other blocks have been worked on, since I started in the centre and am working my way to the outside of the quilt.  The texture of the quilting is so enticing, I keep running my hands over it and admiring the stitches...can't help myself! 
What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blogpost and share your progress below.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

March 16th - National Quilting Day!

Friday Night Sew-In was a success! 
I got 4 more crumb blocks sewn in the colour of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
These blocks will join the baggie of blocks that I showed on my design wall in January - click here to see them.
And today is National Quilting DayHow wonderful that I get to spend it at a mystery quilting class! Such a sweet treat for me! My quilt guild is hosting a "past presidents mystery" event for the guild. I spent part of last evening cutting up the fabric for the mystery and picked these springy colours to work with. Happy Quilting!

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Beat the Winter Blues" Winners

The "Beat the Winter Blues" blog hop is over. Hope you had time to visit some of the blogs. I enjoyed meeting some new bloggers and reading about how people are surviving enjoying the winter. There were 116 entries for my draw for the winter and spring stitchery patterns. The winners are...
Pins and Needles won the Easter Sampler by Bird Brain Designs and Nita is getting the "Let it Snow" pattern by Crabapple Hill. Thanks for playing along! 
TGIF! I'm sewing tonight and can't wait!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Good News Thursday

I enjoyed a little hand quilting with Bonnie Hunter on QuiltCam the other night. Bonnie has been having technical difficulties with the server, which she has been working on solving, so the sound and video were periodic. But it was still fun to be quilting "with" Bonnie (whom my kids refer to as my "pretend friend"!! LOL). 
I also tried out a very special thimble that I bought that has a cute little bird on it. 

It quilts nice stitches, but I am hesitant to use it much because I love it and don't want to wear it out! 
Judy over at Patchwork Times is having a linky party for sharing good news. 
Handmade by Heidi

My good news is that I am making time to sew and have "Friday Night Sew-In" (although I don't know if Heidi is having a sign up anymore) so I will be stitching Friday night AND I got into a guild class to sew a mystery quilt on Saturday. So that is a lot of fun sewing ahead for me to help get through to the end of this week! Hop over to Good News Thursday for more good news.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Votes For Women Wednesday

Work has been continuing (in between other projects) on my Votes For Women quilt blocks. I am up to block #19 but it was a very hard block for me to sew! I had triangles all over the place and had to be able to focus to even get the layout working. This was not a "late at night because I couldn't sleep" kind of a block to sew!
For some reason, it made sense to me to sew some flying geese blocks together, and then to try to build the block from the centre out.
But that didn't work because I ended up with this mess..
and a bazillion "set-in seams" to sew, and I can't do those without a nervous breakdown.
Okay, I settle myself down and tell myself in a stern voice:
"You have been quilting for over 20 years. Of course you can do set-in seams! Just try." 
So, I tried for a couple of hours, but then I realized my block was turning into a bowl shape because of all the handling of the bias seams, and because of all the unsewing and trying again... and the seams were not even close to matching up. 
Then I tried to decide between throwing the whole thing in the garbage and starting again with new fabric, or unstitching the triangles and starting over again with these pieces. Because many of these triangles were from a little candy charm pack, I really wanted to use them, so I unstitched every single seam I had sewn and started again with a different construction plan, which was... ahem... actually posted on the blog for anyone who chose to actually read the instructions!
And tada!

Here it is...representing literally hours of work...and an object lesson on the importance of reading instructions...I present block #19 called "Old Maid's Ramble". Appropriately named because you will be an old maid by the time you finish sewing the thing!! LOL
The next block will for sure be a piece of cake!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Treadling my Coins

Little scraps are like little coins. 
Small, unimportant, thrown out by many.
In Canada the littlest coin, the penny, is so unimportant, it's not even being made anymore!

But in my sewing room, even the tiniest bits are welcome and will always be put to good use! 
Every little bit counts, and pennies eventually add up.
I am treadling small bits onto adding machine paper and making wonderful strips of scraps. Can't wait to see how great this quilt will be!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Design Wall #10 - Alamo Stars

Each month over at the Rainbow Challenge I have been making different coloured Alamo Star blocks and just couldn't resist putting them up on the design wall to see how many blocks I have made so far, and to see how they are going to look together.
So far there are 48 blocks done and they measure 2.25" each.
And I must say... that's a lot of pink! I definitely need to knock it off with the pink and beef up some of the other colours. 
The colour this month is orange, so there will be 10 more blocks with orange coming soon.
I am making these as leader/ender blocks.
If you don't have a leader/ender project, trust me you NEED (at least) one! You save thread, and you are always making a "bonus" quilt in between other projects.
Reading Bonnie's book called Adventures with Leaders and Enders was life changing for my scraps. Each year I am getting a little more organized in terms of knowing what I will use and in what way, as well as how to store the different sizes and types of scraps. 
To see more quilting design walls, hop over to Patchwork Times

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Slow Sunday Stitching - Take One Stitch

When life is crazy and moving at an insane pace, I find myself thinking about Chaos Theory. The more it seems like we have no control in life, the more I am focused on doing one thing, with positive intention, and hope that the effect of that one little thing produces enough change to make some kind of a difference. I love this quote:
"Each smallest act of kindness, reverberates across great distances and spans of time --affecting lives unknown to the one who’s generous spirit, was the source of this good echo. Because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage, years later, and far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each expression of hatred, each act of evil.” 
Dean Koontz

You just never know how stitches taken or how a gifted quilt will affect, and change us and others.
I had goosebumps listening to this clip about a quilt display in England of the quilts made by Canadians during the second world war. 
It's a powerful reminder that sometimes all you can do is to take one stitch (or two, or more!) towards hope, healing, and a more positive future.
Today I will be slowly hand quilting my Journey of a Quilter project. 
What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post and share your project with us.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Orange Leaders/Enders

Today is the day for playing with my orange scraps. In my hand I hold the prepared pieces for 10 new Alamo star blocks. Each clip holds the scraps to make 2 star blocks. I am going to sew these as my leader/ender project this month. I am thankful to Bonnie Hunter for publishing this inspiring book and helping me to organize my little scraps so I can make interesting scrappy quilts.
To see what other quilters are sewing with their orange scraps, hop over to SoScrappy.
Have you been blog hopping to Beat the Winter Blues? Did you enter my giveaway?

Friday, March 08, 2013

Beat the Winter Blues Blog Hop

Are you sick of the winter weather? 

I do love the snow, and enjoy the opportunities that the snow provides to take interesting photos.

But I really hate feeling cold all the time, and am tired of the boots, coats, hats, scarfs, and mitts routine. And I miss the sun :(
To help us "beat the winter blues" the Quilting Gallery is hosting a blog hop starting today. You can hop around to various blogs, see what quilters are doing to beat the blues, and enter draws to cheer you up!
I am doing lots of hand work this winter to stitch my way through the cold weather. I also host Sunday Slow Stitching link-up parties, and would love to have you join us if you are a blogger who enjoys hand stitching.

I am offering stitching patterns to all you blog hoppers as my giveaway. 
Do you prefer a winter pattern to work this Crabapple Hill "Let it Snow" pattern.
Or if you are sick of snow, and want to look forward to spring, I have the Bird Brain Designs "Easter Sampler" pattern.
Leave me a comment and tell me which of these two designs you prefer and I'll pick two winners on March 15th when the blog hop is over. Happy Stitching!
And P.S....
Happy International Women's Day!
What are you doing to celebrate? I am going to sew a few more blocks for my Votes For Women quilt....and as recommended by the IWD website, I will do whatever I can to "ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe, and rewarding". I also plan to watch some of the films posted on line by the National Film Board of Canada. My favorite so far is the film  "Flawed"...enjoy!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Deep thoughts for a wintery Thursday...

There are few things I enjoy as much as a leisurely morning, drinking coffee or tea, and surfing the internet. It's important to "create new neural pathways" and expand your horizons by thinking about new things. LOL!
So here is what my morning surfing has me thinking about this week...
On one of my Yahoo groups, there was conversation about the 'F' word quilt. If you are easily offended, don't even continue to read my post or click on the link to follow! But if not, you can see the 'F' quilt and read about it here. I personally dislike the quilt and really don't understand why someone would put so much creative energy toward such a project as this. 
It lead me to do more research on subversive text in quilts, Here is a definition of subversion:
"Subversion refers to an attempt to transform the established social order and its structures of power, authority, and hierarchy. Subversion refers to a process by which the values and principles of a system in place, are contradicted or reversed."

I also came across a really interesting article on the use of political messages in quilting (BTW... there are many interesting articles to read at the Quilt Index).
And here is a really interesting blog post I read about a quilter in Norway with some very meaningful quilted statements.

Here is my subversive text quilt... making visible the virtues that are increasingly part of a bygone era.

I thought it was a finished quilt, but when I hung it on the wall, it didn't hang straight.  Hmmm...
I decided that I will keep working on it until the waves settle down!
Right now I am sewing on purple buttons.
And then I'm planning to stitch some french knots and ....well, we shall see what happens after that!